Devil’s Club

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by Gordy and Linda McCoy

I know this is a not the title you would expect for the Last Word, but while camping, God taught me some things that spoke to my heart.

There is a really nice lady up here, Marie, who makes these amazing walking sticks out of Devil’s Club. Out in the woods, she gathers stalks of Devil’s Club. They are very, very prickly, with needlelike thorns that can even come through leather gloves. I know from experience. If that isn’t enough deterrent to leaving the Devil’s Club alone, once you get a thorn stuck in your skin, if you don’t dig it out right away it will fester and get infected.

But when you peel off the bark — carefully — underneath it is pure white. It dries white and the stick is amazingly lightweight even before it cures. It is beautiful underneath the prickly bark … and usable. Valuable! Worth the chance of possibly getting hurt by working with it.

After sanding the wood it becomes very smooth, and I carved “Walk by faith” in one stalk. After all of the years that I avoided Devil’s Club like the plague, I am now holding a beautiful walking stick to give to someone.

As I worked on it, God was teaching me some valuable lessons. The center of a Devil’s Club stalk is very soft. This center is where the plant draws up moisture from the earth to get its nutrients. We also are to draw upon the Living Water for our strength. This core, or soft center, is also like our human heart. It is our soft spot for God, but it can be hidden beneath a prickly exterior. Maybe because of deep hurts a person might put up these prickly thorns in order to protect themselves.

Sometimes we need to take a chance to really get to know someone. Maybe there is an area of their life that is festering deep down inside that needs the healing touch of God. God can use us to help them learn to lean on Him. They could use a little support and encouragement along life’s journey.

Sometimes, if we are not careful, we can have “prickly areas” in our lives. Drawing on the fresh, Living Water of the Word flushes out the impurities of the world that can stagnate and pollute our focus. Keeping “short accounts” of the sin “that so easily entangles us” helps us remember Who made us, and Whose we are, and that we were made for His purposes. Understanding that each one of us is a work in progress helps us as well. He might be in the process of peeling some bark or sanding us to be more useful for Him.

Before I knew Him, He saw “the white bark and soft center” within my prickly soul. He made me to be whiter than snow and tenderhearted for Him. Because of His love, He would peel back the layers. He knows about thorns. He has the scars to prove it! All He asks is that I would walk through my life’s journey leaning on Him … because He is my Strength, my Guide.

– Gordy and Linda
On assignment as camp hosts at Taidnapam Camp Ground

2 Corinthians 5:7
Hebrews 12:1

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Lost and Found

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By Gordy and Linda McCoy

We found a Nook. Not a pacifier Nook (“Nuk”) but the e-reader Nook. It was lying on the side of the highway on our way from Cannon Beach. We had never used one before and I was checking it out to find owner information. I found an email address and we were going to contact her when we had internet access so we could arrange to give it back.

But there was a problem. The nook was filled with “yucky” things. Yucky books. Lots of yucky, icky books. We had just had this wonderful time at Cannon Beach and now we had this evil influence in our car. So, I found the setting on the nook to reset it back to factory settings and I pushed it. But, I didn’t realize it also would delete the owners’ info. So now I had no way to contact her. And even if I could, I would have some explaining to do because I deleted all of her books. They probably cost her quite a bit. She was the owner of the nook and she had every right to put on it whatever she wanted. I was judging her for what I saw. God alone is her judge. We accidentally invaded this woman’s privacy. We tried to do a “good thing” and find out more about her so we could return it to her. How do I get myself in these situations???

So now we had a Nook. When I got home I loaded it up with the WORD, Max Lucado books, inspirational Christian music, fun games to play, family pictures … and then GOD gave me an analogy. I feel this is the reason we found the Nook.

God gives us free will. It is our choice what we fill our minds with, like the Nook. We can watch movies or read books that can cloud our judgments. Our “free” time can cost us greatly. HE sees everything we fill our minds with. I am reminded that, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is praiseworthy—think about such things.”  (Philippians 4:8)

And I am also reminded that just like pushing the reset button on the nook, wiping it clean, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Knowing that God has total access to all of my thoughts, let alone all of the things I choose to do, can be a scary thought. But it is also a safety net. If I filter my life through His perspective, it is healthy in every way for me. But if I chose the world’s way, I get in trouble.

I need to remember I once was lost … and I didn’t even realize it. And then I got a glimpse of His love for me and recognized the ugliness of my sin. I was full of the “yuckiness” of this polluted world. I found Him. He washed my sins away and “reset” me back to His intended purpose. The One that gave me life, gave His life to do this. Not just push a button. I am so thankful ….

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Just because

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by Linda McCoy

There are so many ways to show our kids we love them. Paying attention to how they are really doing, taking the time to listen, making sure their needs are met and sprinkling their life with a few surprises, just to see them smile. Doing the little extra things, not because we have to, but because we want to, realizing we are making memories. You never know what your child may be storing in their memory bank, but investing in the lives of our children has the highest return of our time.

Because we are motivated by love, and gratefulness for the privilege of raising our children for Him, we are leaving a rich heritage for our grandchildren to inherit. Whether you came from a Christian home or not, God will teach you how to raise your children. His Word is filled with all the wisdom you will need. The Holy Spirit will lead, guide and correct our parenting, and prayer is our safety net. We always told our children that if they felt we had made a decision that they didn’t agree with, they could take it to prayer. If we were incorrect in our decision, the Holy Spirit would reveal it to us and on occasion, we would change our minds. This built their faith and they were taught the power of prayer. It also built our faith as we prayed for wisdom, discernment, patience, and strength to face the challenges ahead.

Our FATHER sets the perfect example of what it means to be a loving parent. HE takes such good care of us. HE sprinkles our day with many blessings. Do we really notice all HE does for us each and every day? Take time to watch for HIM at work in your life and write down the blessings you see each day. You will see HIS character behind what HE does. HE is our provider, our comforter, our protector, our loving FATHER. HE wants us to notice  all HE does for us, to praise HIM. He gives us daily gifts of HIS presence just because HE loves us.  We belong to HIM and HE wants us to know it.

So daily count your many blessings and see what GOD has done. When you go to bed each night, fall asleep as you reflect on the many ways HE showed  you … you belong to HIM.

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God has the LAST WORD

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by Linda McCoy

I was thinking of the title of the devotionals, that we have the privilege of reading every week in the newsletter. It’s entitled THE LAST WORD.

I am reminded that whatever happens in my life, my Sovereign God has the LAST WORD. He has the final say. He is our Advocate. No matter what, He knows our hearts and He sees all. He has the answers for every one of our struggles in life. It all comes down to the One that loves us the most. Whether we plead, argue, debate or question the whys of life, He will always speak the Truth to us. Even at the times we won’t listen. We need to know, our Loving, Faithful Father, is using whatever He can, to teach us and reach us. Daily, in the School of Life He wants to lead and guide us. Are we willing to listen? We have to learn to trust Him…..for everything….always. Letting Him have the final say allows Him to be LORD of our lives.

Take a close look at John 1:1. The One who says He is THE WORD. You are holding in your hands the powerful, living Word of God. The living WORD of GOD. (Hebrews 4:12) In a world full of lies and deception, we are holding the manual of truth. God’s love letter to us. Share Gods Word , according to Phil. 4:15-16, to our crooked world and then shine like the stars in the darkness. The daily news is flooded with doom and gloom………offer HOPE. Follow Jesus’ example as we look at Luke 4:14-20.

Picture yourself there when THE WORD read the WORD. Imagine when He unrolled the old scroll of Isaiah and spoke the fresh message of good news. Can you imagine what it will be like when we hear Him speak? When He says our name? Speak His name to others. Share His words. Take Him at His Word and let Him have the final say.

Read His final inspired, written Words in the last chapter of Revelation. He wants us to know………“I’m coming back…..I AM the Alpha and Omega…….until then….

Be full of My Grace.”

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